Told in three interconnected segments, we follow a young man named Takaki through his life as cruel winters, cold technology, and finally, adult obligations and responsibility converge to test the delicate petals of love.
In the not too distant future androids have come into common usage. Taking the androids for granted, humans treat them as if they were common everyday tools, while on the other hand, some ... See full summary »
The love of Japanese high school students Mikako Nagamine and Noboru Tera is tested when Mikako is sent to fight aliens in a distant universe and voice mails to and from Earth become months to years in transmission.
A teenage girl finds that she has the ability to leap through time. With her newfound power, she tries to use it to her advantage, but soon finds that tampering with time can lead to some rather discomforting results.
When eleven-year-old Wataru is told he can change his destiny by entering a magic gateway into another world, he jumps at the chance. But on his quest to find the Tower of Fortune and be granted any wish, he must conjure up all his bravery to battle a world of demons, his own friends and ultimately himself.
Kochi Uehara is a fourth grade student living in the suburb of Tokyo. One day he picks up a large stone which turns out to be a fossil of a baby "Kappa" (a mythical Japanese water creature)... See full summary »
September 1998: A recent spate of unusual suicide incidents where several high school girls fell to their death, but left no suicide note and had apparently no reason to commit suicide. In ... See full summary »
A young girl is lost in the forest, and rescued at the last minute by a strange boy, who may be a spirit in human form. She returns to meet him every summer, as she grows up and he remains the same; over time they develop a special friendship, but the boy warns her that because of a curse which was placed on him, they may never touch.
Hotarubi no mori e is a sweet little fairy tale, that draws heavily on Japanese tradition and mythology. It's a pleasant enough watch, more lyrical and sensitive than most anime I've seen so far, and the very short runtime (under 50 minutes) ensures that it doesn't overstay its welcome. That runtime also makes it very unsatisfying, though; it's frustrating when you realize that, even if it were only over an hour long, it would get boring quickly, mainly because it has very little to offer. Hotarubi no mori e has some pleasant atmosphere, but no character development, no original design, and no real point or moral at the end.
Hotarubi no mori e seems to be heavily influenced by the master Hayao Miyazaki - mostly because both draw from the same myths and share the same elements. That natural and instant comparison does it more harm than good, though; it's just not as good as Miyazaki's work, it doesn't achieve the same level of audience involvement, it doesn't feel as real, and the animation is far from being on the same level. The animation in Hotarubi no mori e is pretty and pleasant, as is the story, and it's practically impossible to use stronger words to describe it. Pleasant but forgettable, probably worthwhile for anime fans but not much to write home about when we still have the genius of Miyazaki around.
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